Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton wear mostly solid ties in their James Bond films, and Roger Moore wears solid, striped and printed ties in his James Bond films. Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig (until Spectre) have mostly eschewed the ties that their predecessors wore for ties with woven patterns. These often intricate patterns are woven on a Jacquard loom. When the pattern is woven, the colours will be more vivid and more defined than on printed ties. Though most striped ties are also woven with different coloured yarns rather than printed, this article will be focusing on other types of patterns than stripes.
The first tie Bond wears that has a non-striped woven pattern is a navy tie with small white polka dots, He wears this tie with his navy double-breasted suit in Octopussy. Dots, from polka dots to pin dots, can be found both printed on and woven in ties, but woven dots are more vivid and defined.
The plaid tie Roger Moore wears with his grey tweed jacket in A View to a Kill also has a woven pattern, but it’s woven just as any ordinary plaid for a jacket or shirt would be woven in an ordinary even twill weave. Though stripes and checks on ties appear diagonally, they are not woven into the cloth diagonally. Ties are cut on the bias (diagonally) so they hang straight and don’t curl in either direction, hence why patterns on ties are usually diagonal. If the ribs on a tie are horizontal or vertical, it usually means the tie is woven in a twill weave.
Starting with GoldenEye, Bond has almost exclusively worn ties with woven patterns. In Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films the woven patterns vary from small to large. They range from small neat patterns and dots, to large chevrons and geometric patterns. The small neat patterns include the blue and bronze Turnbull & Asser tie that Bond wears with his vicuna-coloured overcoat and navy birdseye three-piece suit in Tomorrow Never Dies, the Herbie Frogg tie that Bond wears in the pipeline in The World Is Not Enough and the blue and yellow squares Turnbull & Asser tie that Bond wears on the plane with his navy birdseye suit in Die Another Day.
Some of Pierce Brosnan’s geometric ties include the black and gold tie in GoldenEye, the black tie with red, silver and gold lines and squares in The World Is Not Enough and the grey tie with blue circles in Die Another Day. The last two ties are from Turnbull & Asser. Though the weaving of these large patterns is very impressive, these are the furthest ties Bond has worn from the solid black knitted ties of his literary origins or the solid grenadine ties of his cinematic origins.
Daniel Craig’s James Bond continues on from Brosnan’s by wearing mostly ties with woven patterns. Craig’s Bond, however, has preferred more discrete neat patterns, usually woven in two or three colours. His ties often have a basket weave appearance, but the patterns are created on a Jacquard loom with floated yarns that only mimic a basket weave. We see this basket weave look on the navy and white tie with the charcoal blue checked suit in Casino Royale, on the navy and white tie with the midnight blue suit in Quantum of Solace and on the navy and grey tie with the navy herringbone suit at the end of Skyfall.
Many of the other ties that Daniel Craig’s Bond wears have other square patterns that look more complex than a basket weave. Craig’s other ties in his first three Bond films that don’t have a pattern of squares are the blue and white honeycomb tie with the three-piece navy pinstripe suit at the end of Casino Royale, the aubergine and black tie with white pin dots with the charcoal suit in Quantum of Solace, the oval-patterned tie at the end of Quantum of Solace and the two grenadine-esque ties in Skyfall. The ties in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are made by Tom Ford.
So finally, as for his suits, Bond wears tie styles of his time, sometimes almost timeless (the TWINE ties, the navy grenadine and knitted ties,…), sometimes way too fashion-forward (Brosnan’s Hamburg tie in TND, Moore’s striped ties in Moonraker…). He is definitely a man of his time, he just has more taste than the average Joe. Perhaps a myth has been destroyed…
Matt, Moore’s polka dot tie in Octopussy looks like it is not just a simple dotted tie. There’s clearly a self-on-self stripe effect on your picture, perhaps due to the texture ?
It could have a self stripe or herringbone weave, but that is separate from the polka dot pattern. Turnbull & Asser sells such ties.
I just finished re-watching Goldeneye, and I must say I still like Brosnan’s geometric patterns better than Craig’s minimalist ones. Book-Bond purists will insist that Bond should be understated, but Brosnan’s more luxurious look required ties with graphic “punch” Stripes, on the other hand, went very well with Moore’s blazers.
I completely agree. The ‘tank’ tie in Goldeneye for example always looked great to me -and also always appeared to me as a mix of black/navy and green instead of black and gold though-, and I think since Brosnan’s Brioni city suits having all a very classic, traditional style and classic suitings as well (dark worsted essentially), the patterned ties add a nice touch of color.
Brosnan’s shirts were also extremely classic (no fussy cuff or placket details ), always white, blue or off-white solids with double cuffs. So the suit and shirt balance, in a way, the originality and graphic punch of the tie.
Wearing a 3-piece suit is also a smart way to wear a bold tie (like the one in Goldeneye) without the tie being too overbearing.
Still, I also appreciate Craig’s small-patterned ties in Casino Royale. In QOS I found the ties too shiny and showy – in a word, too Tom Ford…
In Skyfall the ties were minimalist to the point of invisibility….
I disagree wholeheartedly. But I also wear knit and grenadine ties on average of three time per week, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference.
Something that I read many years ago has always stuck with me: “Ties are the most personal part of someone’s style”.
I remember that when the Brosnan films first came out he seemed, to quote one reviewer, the “most nattily dressed Bond”. However, as much as I loved his suits at the time his graphic ties always looked “cheap” and gimmicky to me. I personally have always preferred ties with neat patterns or subtle ones, although I can understand why people like ones that are more…look-at-me. Doesn’t seem to suit Bond though (the Bond of either the books OR the films) IMHO.
Great post, Matt! I was especially impressed with the closeup of Roger Moore’s Octopussy tie, which is one of my favorites. I concur with Le Chiffre that it’s a self-stripe.
Your newest article took me back here. I have encountered the term “Macclesfield tie” a few times in this context, but does that refer to woven tie patterns like this, or is it the just the name of a certain pattern?
I found this great article that explains what it is: https://parisiangentleman.co.uk/2017/06/30/the-macclesfield-necktie/